The Concept of Environmental Education
Environmental education is interdisciplinary, drawing from biological, sociological, anthropological, and economic political and human resources. It is also agreed that it is the process of recognizing values and clarifying concept related with environment and its problems in order to develop skills and attitudes necessary to understand surroundings.
It also entails practices in decision making and self-formulating a code of behaviour about issues concerning environmental quality.
Environmental education can be regarded as the process of learning, through which participants acquire sufficient knowledge to contribute towards solving environmental problems.
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The concept of environmental education can be classified as:
1. Education for the Environment
Environmental education is a pragmatic response of the defacement of the environment.
Environmental education is a kind of education which will seek to make pupils fully aware of the problems connected with their environment so that they will be able to tackle these problems with a sense of responsibility and with the technical skills which will enable them to contribute to their solutions along ‘with other members of their community.
2. Education about the Environment
Environmental Education includes conservation, outdoor and natural resource education as well as nature study but it also includes everything that relates to man and his environment.
E.E. is the study of man and how he shapes his total natural and cultural surroundings for good or ill.
Man, not his technology, not the physical or biological world as a separate entity, not the arts or professions operating in segregated spheres, but all of these as they affect the quality of human life, becomes the pivotal concern.
Man cannot be separated from the earth’s ecosystem for he ‘is the only conscious manipulator of the environment and his manipulation must be directed towards enhancing the quality of environment.
3. Education through the Environment
Environmental education is not a separate subject. It is a multi-disciplinary approach both to education and to the problem of environment.
All the subject in the existing curriculum do have some information pertaining to environment but in their present form the subjects fail to relate to one another.
Just as piecemeal attacks on environmental problems are ineffective so is piecemeal education about the environment inadequate because it does not take into account the interdependence of the pieces. It must, therefore, be of wholes not of parts, if human race is to understand the totality of environments subject areas must collaborate, integrate and coordinate so that
E.E. may prove effective in overcoming the environmental crisis. The multidisciplinary approach integrates environmental education into all learning, in all subject in all grades all year long and beyond the formal school years to a lifelong education.
The objectives of environmental education are:
To help the individuals acquire on understanding of the biophysical environment and society,
To encourage understanding of man as an inseparable part of his environment but with the ability of alter it in important ways through his activities or lack of it and
To generate understanding of the organizational strategies and social arrangements.
The components of environmental education
Awareness and sensitivity to the environment and environmental challenges
Knowledge and understanding of the environment and environmental challenges
Attitudes of concern for the environment and motivation to improve or maintain environmental quality
Skills to identify and help resolve environmental challenges
Participation in activities that lead to the resolution of environmental challenges
Environmental education does not advocate a particular viewpoint or course of action. Rather, environmental education teaches individuals how to weigh various sides of an issue through critical thinking and it enhances their own problem-solving and decision- making skills.
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